Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Golf. Who Knew?

If you've followed our journey with diabetes from the my pump gear blog, you will probably remember the troubles we’ve had with blood sugars when it comes to sports.  Soccer: probably the most stressful (for Mama).  Softball:  not too bad, except when C would be up to bat and felt a low coming on that was dropping with a vengeance.  Dance: quite manageable, as long as I keep up with the demands of being a “D” stage mom.

Enter golf.

I’ve never been a big fan, really.  I don’t even think of it in the same realm as true sports.  (Sorry honey!)  But, there we were this summer.  All of us.  Twiddling our thumbs.  Trying to stay busy without spending a lot of money.  We remembered the great week-long golf camp that the boys tried out last summer.  It’s put on by the Los Angeles County Golf Club system.  And best of all, it’s FREE!

Well, after signing up the boys again, C clearly wanted to do it too.  So…3 kids, signed up for golf camp.

We prepared the D bag with supplies, extra everything.  It was gonna be a HOT week up in the canyon golf course.  And, without a thought, I knew I would need to do the “D mom-hover” all week.  (You know, letting those in charge know about her diabetes, supplies, lows, blood sugar checking, snacks, juice, blah-blah…and then hovering and watching for signs of lows…making sure she gets noticed and taken care of.)

The husband and I drove the kids up the hill, sunscreened and armed with water bottles.  

We found the registration table and proceeded to fill out the necessary release and waiver forms.  TYPE 1 DIABETES…insulin dependent, I wrote across the top, along the side and across the bottom of the papers.  As I handed the forms to the director, he nonchalantly tapped a device on his waistband and said, “Oh, I’m type 1 also.”

“What?” I said.  “Excuse me…”

“I’m type 1…I’m on an insulin pump too.”  He then turned toward C and talked with her, asking to see her pump.  My eyes switched back and forth between the two of them.  Same pump, different colors.  C was all smiles.  I was wide-eyed and looking shocked.  He went on to tell us that one of the other instructors was also a pump-wearing type 1.  He would make sure C would be in her group.

“This. Is. Just. Great!” I muttered.  “I mean, not that you have diabetes, of course, but that…well…” I sighed a big sigh.  “I think you know what I mean.”

“Of course,” he said.

We headed toward the putting green where the kids and instructors were gathering.  There she was, another type 1 instructor!  She went through a similar introduction about herself having diabetes, showing C her pump.  Interestingly, she had been diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 30. 
I wanted to hug her, simply for the fact that she must know what a parent feels to leave their child with diabetes in the care of others.  

“No need to stick around, unless you want to,” she said.  “We’ll do our sugar checks together…and have a snack in a little bit."
3 type 1s on 1 putting green
From the outside, this experience might just seem like a small thing.  But for me, for was HUGE!  I stood there for a while, looking around, unconsciously breathing deeply.  Very deeply.  The husband turned to me and asked, "Are you alright?"

"Yes," I said. "I am."

We actually went to get a cup of coffee.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Diabetes Art Day 2011...

Hi All!!

I'm back...(I hope!) Back to having a computer.  (Not the MacBook Pro I wanted, but hey.)  Back to writing.  Back to this blog that I left hanging!  And, I'm jumping back to blogging on a very special day...Diabetes Art Day, courtesy of LeeAnn over at The Butter Compartment.  It's the 2nd annual.  And we're happy to have been part of the 1st. You can view C's artwork from last year here.

Our submission this year kind of sums up how we (or maybe just I) have been dealing with and feeling about D in the last few months.  Messy. Depressing.  Misbehaved.

I call it Summer with D.
 What would you call it?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Awesome Things?

Day 5 of D-Blog Week 2011

Today's topic:  Awesome Things Diabetes Has Brought to Our Lives.  Because, like Karen's blog says:  Life with diabetes isn't all bad!
Okay I go.  I'm going make a concerted effort here...

[enter cricket sound]

Well I don't know about this.  Yesterday's post was so easy.  Things I hate about diabetes?  The thoughts and experiences flowed effortlessly through the keyboard onto the screen. But, since I am a rule-follower, I'm going to really try to come up with some awesome things.

It feels pretty good when your 4 year old comes up to you and tells you exactly how many grams of carbs are in a serving of fish crackers.

Diabetes has allowed us to meet people we wouldn't have, otherwise.

It's given me a purposeful outlet for writing.

It's taught my daughter, at a very young age, the most basic of life lessons:  the world is not fair.

Diabetes swiftly and silently weeds out fly-by-night friends from truly deep relationships with people who care to get involved with the nitty/gritty of this disease.

It provides real and tangible opportunities for C to look beyond her own needs and head up a walk team to raise money for awareness and research for all who are affected by diabetes.

I'm always the mom who gets to go on the field trips!

We are never without snacks.

Diabetes is the reason that an 8 year old got her very own phone.

The most obvious awesome thing is the DOC (diabetes online community).  We have friends all over the globe because of diabetes!  I truly feel that these people (almost all of whom we have never seen face to face) have my back.  Day or night, the support is there.  It has been a wonderful, indescribable awesome thing!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stupid Diabetes. . .

Day 4 of D-Blog Week 2011

Today's topic:  10 Things You hate About Diabetes (only 10, Karen?)

Just when you think Let's have dessert, your t1 checks in at 356.  Stupid diabetes.

A shiver runs down your spine when the little girl down the street tells you "I wish C didn't have diabetes, then I could share my candy with her."  Stupid diabetes.

A spontaneous invitation for your t1 kid to go out to dinner with a friend makes you think twice.  Stupid diabetes.

A slowly-leaking insulin vial in the butter compartment starts making your entire refrigerator smell like Band-Aids.  Stupid diabetes.

Diabetes needs the dunce cap.
When you're set for a day at the baseball fields and have a coveted parking space, you realize no one grabbed the diabetes bag at home.  Stupid diabetes.

Just when your daughter is up to bat, she turns to you and says, "Mom, I feel low."  Stupid diabetes.

She wants a small bunch of grapes, like the other kids, but her number is 268.  Stupid diabetes.

You freak out when one of your non D kids drinks the last of the Crystal Light.  Stupid diabetes.

You find out from another mom that the reason your t1 daughter wasn't invited to her daughter's party is that she thought "cake and ice cream would just be too tempting for a diabetic."  Stupid diabetes?

Right after a painful site change, your 8 year old daughter looks up at you with tear-filled eyes and says, "I don't want to have diabetes when I grow up."  Stupid diabetes.

[big sigh, painful lump in throat and broken heart]

Stupid diabetes.

All Freaky on Mr. Frito Lay. . .

Day 3 of D-Blog Week 2011
So, today's topic is Diabetes Bloopers.  Diabetes is serious business, most of the time.  But then there are those experiences where you just have to laugh.  I'm reaching back in time here...This will be a "way-back Wednesday" post.  This diabetes blooper is quite appropriate for today.  It's laughable to me now.  When it actually happened, not so much!
I was asked just recently about the early days of C's diagnosis. No warm, fuzzy memories. Fear, consumption, the unknown...that's what comes to mind. But, here's a memory that I can look back on, and if not laugh at, at least rustle up a little chuckle.

It was in the very first days at home after the hospital stay and after we got "all educated" on this crazy new way of life. It has to do with the counting of carbohydrates. Now, this is, for me, one of the great annoyances of this disease. No longer can we just put a bowl of chips out for all to munch from, but we need to count each one and know exactly what our little 2 year old (at the time) would be eating. Talk about irritating. But all you parents out there who go through this, day in and day out, can certainly relate. Well...I wonder if you can relate to my inner monster that slipped right out of me as I wrestled with this new routine. (If you can relate, I'd love to I won't feel so alone in this area!)

Anyway...we were having Frito Corn Chips...nothing abnormal about that. But I was still learning about carb-counting and nutrition guides and grams and so on. I turned the bag over, and for the life of me, could not figure out what the guide was telling me. Half of this confusion was due to the new-ness of diabetes. But the other half stemmed from the tremedous lack of sleep I was experiencing.

Clearly, it was written at the top of the nutrition guide: Serving Size 1 oz. (28g/32 chips). But then, down the guide it read: Total Carbohydrate 15 g. Ug...28 grams or 15 grams? Which one was it? Through my clouded eyeballs I could not get a grasp of this. My little one wanted fritos and I was bound and determined to let her have them, diabetes or not. So…I decided to call Frito-Lay. I got the 800 number off the back of the bag. After the initial punching of millions of buttons in order to talk with a live person, there he was, Mr. Frito-Lay, himself.
“Hello. My name is [Mr. Frito-Lay]. May I help you?”

“Yes. Hello. I have some questions regarding the nutrition guide on a bag of Fritos.”

“Yes ma’am. What seems to be the problem?” (Grrrr at the word “ma’am”)

“Well, I’m confused about the grams. At the top of the guide, it says a serving size is one ounce at 28 grams for 32 chips.”

“Yes, ma’am, that’s correct.”

“But then down at the Total Carbohydrates it says 15 grams.”

“Yyyyes, that’s correct.” His tone was beginning to sound patronizing.

“Okay. But I don’t understand. 28 or 15…which is it?” My voice began to quiver.

“Ma’am, I can see that this issue is very important to you, but I can assure you that the information on the nutrition guide is correct.”

I began to sweat. In the background, C was beginning to fuss.

“Okay…You don’t understand!” My voice started rising and my eyes were filling with tears. Then, I let it all go.

“I don’t know what to do! My baby! She wants fritos and I don’t know what to do! Is it 15 grams or 28?! I need to give her a shot! I don’t understand this! She’s diabetic and I don’t know what to do!” By this time, I'm sobbing.

“Okay, ma’am? Calm down, please calm down?”

Sniff, sniff, “yes,” I squeeked.

“Okay, ma’am, you hold on and I’ll go ask someone about all this. Now, hold on, okay?”

“Okay,” sniff.

I sat there, head down over the high chair tray, holding the fritos bag. C was content playing with my hair. As I grabbed a tissue and blew, a voice came back on the phone.



“I’m now understanding a bit more clearly about what you’re asking. You need to focus on the 15 grams of carbohydrates. The serving size of one ounce is about 32 chips and it should weigh 28 grams…that’s the weight. One of my co-workers, here, knows a little bit about diabetes and explained it to me. I hope this helps.” There was no patronizing tone now.

Big breath…”Yes…yes. Thank you.”

“Well, thank you for calling Frito-Lay. And if there’s anything else we can help you with, please call again.” Click.

I’m a grown woman. College-educated. Masters degree even. Obviously, I wasn’t thinking clearly. There I sat. I slowly counted out 32 chips for my daughter. As she happily munched away on them, I prepared her injection.

(Sorry Mr. Frito-Lay. I didn’t mean to get all freaky on you.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dear Fear. . .

Day 2 of D-Blog Week 2011

Today's topic is Letter Writing.  I thought about writing a letter to diabetes.  Then I thought about writing to that wonderful nameless ER doc who pushed me, ever-so-gently, (and quickly) into signing papers that terrible night in order to administer insulin to our baby girl.  I even thought about writing to glucagon and thanking it for being there when we need it.  But, then I thought to myself, get real!

Dear Fear,

You don't own me, you know.  I realize there are times when it seems I've been completely overcome by you.  But, I won't give you that much credit. You've done quite a number on me throughout the years, I'll admit.  The whole cancer thing?  That was a good one.  But even you know that God has used that for his good purposes!

You seem to creep up whenever and wherever you please.  You seem to really revel on the first of every month when we need to pay bills.  You use the nightly news at times to give me a good zing.  But the main thing I despise you using against me own kids.  You know for certain that you can get to me through them.  And I hate you for that.

Yes.  I feel you watching me when I say goodbye to my boys as they ride off on their bikes to school.  I noticed how you grinned when middle C had so much trouble with his asthma that the only thing we could do was call 911.  The minutes it took for the paramedics to arrive seriously crippled me...emotionally, spiritually, as well as physically.  I'm sure that ambulance ride with my heart pounding gave you great pleasure.

But let's be really honest here.  Your favorite scare tactic on me involves diabetes, doesn't it?  You just love playing the diabetes card.  I know you use so many aspects of that disease to try and get a hold of my heart---the numbers, my forgetfulness, the reality of complications and those middle of the night checks.  I bet you can't wait for my muscles to tense up at 4 o'clock in the morning, when I toss, turn and finally tiptoe down the hall to check on my precious daughter just because "I have a feeling."

News stories about treasured children who lost their fight with diabetes, whether going undiagnosed or suffering a deadly hypoglycemic episode in their sleep...those must be opportunities you believe could really paralyze me.  The thoughts in my head of earthquakes or other disasters that could prevent us from getting the supplies and life-saving insulin our daughter needs every day just to stay alive...that could do it.  Don't you think?

But Fear, like I wrote in the beginning: you don't own me...God does.  1 John 4:18 states There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. 

You see, I'm not perfect.  But my God is...He is love.  And so, when I look to Him instead of quivering at you, you just seem to disintegrate.  I know to whom I belong.  Now, it certainly is a life-long process, but I'm trying to be intentional in choosing a different viewpoint in those circumstances where it seems you would naturally pop up.  I'm choosing to thank God for waking me at 4 o'clock in the morning to catch a low of 46, instead of fearing it will happen again and I not wake up.  I'm choosing to take those heart-breaking stories of unfortunate children to fuel our advocacy fire.  I'm choosing to let an earthquake remind me to stock up on C's insulin and supplies.

I understand I will deal with you the rest of my life.  I just wanted you to know that God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (2 Timothy 1:7)

Sincerely and Most Assuredly,


Monday, May 9, 2011

Admiration. . .

ad • mi • ra • tion
/ ad-muh-rey-shuhn / noun Respect and warm approval  _______________________
There are plenty of people for whom I have great admiration.  But when it came to today's first D-Blog week topic, Admiring Our Differences, I immediately thought of a very small group of people who have very gently touched our lives.  I'm not really even sure what to call this group of people.  There are 3 of them.  However, I'm certain that there are many many more out there as well.  These 3 people have just happened upon a blog post of mine, my facebook profile or have come across one of my tweets on twitter. They are wise individuals who just happened to have lived with type 1diabetes for 40 + years.  Lived well, I might add.  It may have been the smallest of comments on my previous blog, my pump gear, or less than a 140 character response to a tweet, but it has meant the world to me I began searching feverishly after C's diagnosis.  What was I searching for?  I didn't quite know.  I guess I was searching for evidence that C would be okay.  That I would be okay.  That life would be okay...even with diabetes.These people helped in such a poignant way.  I never came out and asked the question:  "Will my little 2 year old t1 girl grow up and experience life's joys?" But, it was kind of like these people know that is the exact question parents of kids with type 1 diabetes are so desperate (and fearful) to ask.As time has gone by, I'm not really even certain how I can thank these folks.  (Unless, of course, they're reading this!)  But I admire them greatly.  To live a life with this disease for so many years and not allow it to win out?  Wow.  Thank you, my little group of people who have softly touched me and given me an answer to the question I couldn't even utter out loud.